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About Gorgonops

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    Board-Certified Kvetcher

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  1. Gorgonops

    Recent spike in PPC Mac prices?

    That's certainly true enough, IE, it's pretty unlikely someone's going to buy one to toss into their bookbag every time they leave the house anymore. That said, if you happen to have one that works and want to keep it in your collection "forever" I'd probably recommend giving it "desk queen" status and leaving it set up and open, perhaps moreso than some other similar vintage machines. So far as it goes you're probably also on borrowed time with almost *any* Apple laptop of that period simply because they did generally err on the side of "lightness" verses durability, and there's also the well known design issues with parts like screen hinges. Titaniums are particularly notorious in that area, of course. The cables that connect the LCD to the motherboard are another wear item that applies to almost any laptop. (In addition to wear they're also particularly prone to getting damaged when the hinges seize, which makes that wear point a two-fer. Worse case a damaged cable can short and "poof" your motherboard, which is great.)
  2. Gorgonops

    Recent spike in PPC Mac prices?

    The original 500/600mhz IceBooks, IE, the ones with Rage 128 video instead of Radeon, mostly didn't suffer from the motherboard issues of the later ones. I'm not sure that follows. My understanding of the problem was the root cause of the failure of those machines was largely mechanical, IE, when the machine was handled (including opening and closing the lid) the stresses were concentrated in such a way that they broke the solder bonding of the GPU. (Which was essentially placed in the epicenter of the bend.) Maybe the machines that are left alive today have miraculous-strength solder compared to the ones that died, or it could simply be that they were on average handled less before they became obsolete enough to be left abandoned in a closet in still-working working condition. They still have the same glass chin, it just happens to have not been punched yet.
  3. Gorgonops

    GOTEK Floppy Emulators in Classic Macs?

    I have Goteks with FlashFloppy installed in a couple Tandy 1000s and they do a great job, pretty much zero complaints. I do *highly* recommend the OLED Display Mod, it's literally plug-and-play outside of having to hack a larger hole in the case.
  4. Gorgonops


    The one quirk about installing A/UX on a Quadra 650 that I remember is I think you need to put the apropos System Enabler for the Quadra 610/650 on both the boot floppy you use to install it and on the installed 7.1 partition that A/UX boots from. That process is covered in the A/UX FAQ and (having just checked) the link above. Other than that A/UX works fine on the Q650; it's probably one of the best machines that it runs on, with the one limitation (which again, is based on a very rusty memories) that only 256 color video modes are supported, at least with the native X11 server. (You need a Quadra 700 or 900/950 for 24 bit color, because those machines will handle more VRAM.) Also, FWIW, it probably would have been okay for you to open a new thread instead of taking onto a 2007 vintage one. But the subject is the same, I guess, so no harm no foul.
  5. Gorgonops

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    I ended up stripping down a few smashed-to-heck PB G4s back then; used to have a small collection of those little boards the PRAM batteries were soldered to. Probably tossed them all by now, alas. Also had a few slot-loading drives that I always intended to try using for some cool case-mod project that I never got around to.
  6. Gorgonops

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    It did seem a bit like it was getting over the top in the anti-Titanium department (in addition to treading the line about getting personal), particularly considering the OP was all about proudly showing off a couple of the units they'd put a fair amount of work into spit-polishing. I understand that you had a negative experience with one and that it was clearly the wrong tool for the job you needed it for at the time. But... these days, let's get real, the hardest thing someone's likely to do with one of these things under OS 9 is play Nanosaur Extreme on it now and again. Honestly that's probably about all anyone should ask of a PowerPC Mac, *period*, anymore. And they'll do that fine. Great even. A Titanium can actually be an impressive little machine if fed the right things. I realize that statistically what I can see in my immediate orbit, particularly with regard to the battery recalls, could be skewed by any number of things including simple dumb luck. According to some of the press releases the estimate is that the recall affected something like 460,000 units produced over three years. Apple doesn't break down unit sales enough to be able to confidently say what that translates to in terms of odds; one set of numbers suggests that's in the ballpark of 1% of *all Macs* sold over that period, but there's no breakdown of how many of those were MacBook Pros, or laptops at all. It could well just be that the outfit that services our corporate leases had really bad luck when they did a bulk order for refresh inventory and got a tonne of them from one bad production run. (Although at the very least that requires that they let them sit around on the shelf for long periods, because PC refreshes happen at random per-employee intervals.) That said, I've seen plenty of issues with machines outside of the battery recall, including bloated batteries. The main reason I brought this up is because, to be frank, it really does feel like the root cause of many of these issues is largely the same as the physical issues the Titanium has, IE, the designers simply went too far in pursuit of an aesthetic and in the process compromised the functionality and durability of the machine more than the trade off was worth. I know that this ship has already sailed across the entire industry but I still firmly believe that gluing batteries into laptops is a bad idea and I can't say the evidence I've seen fails to support that conclusion. Apple also *seriously* dropped the ball with the butterfly keyboard; a millimeter or two of additional thinness is not worth keyswitches that can be jammed by minute particles of dust. (Frankly scissor switches aren't the greatest, but at least the older design had a chance of getting restored to functionality with a cleaning.) Recently we've been noticing around the office how easily the screens of the recent model Macs get broken inside of laptop bags. (It happened to two people at a recent offsite.) The "Retina" unit (I think it was a 2013 model) I had before bloaty-mc-bloaty-battery went back with a broken trackpad because, so far as I can tell, I got *one* drop of water inside the unit from touching the pad after picking up an icewater glass with condensation on the outside. Granted that's not a thinness-related problem per se, but still... whut? Never had that happen before. Maybe stick a membrane around the border of the clicky-part? Maybe we can just chalk all this up to the inevitable march of progress or whatever, that it would simply be an unacceptable state of affairs to imagine an alternative universe where the dimensions of laptops stabilize to some "reasonably thin but can still take a punch" form factor with just the important parts getting their biannual spec bumps. But to me it kind of puts the active disdain I used to feel toward the Titanium and its multiple glass chins into perspective. It was truly ahead of its time in more ways than I could appreciate back then. Maybe not in a good way, but you can't deny in retrospect that it was forward-thinking.
  7. Gorgonops

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    Blame the victim, eh? You've probably heard of this recall of 2015-2017 MacBook Pros. Apple optimistically says it was a "limited number" that were affected, but *everyone* in my office got the recall notice, and by the time it came out many of the machines had already started puffing up. My machine hadn't swelled to the bursting point yet, but if you set it on a table you could "wibble" it by pushing on a corner because the center of the case had ballooned out enough to be lower than the rubber feet. So far as I can tell, and sure, this is anecdotal, the failure rate of at least some runs of machines they built in that period was 100%. It's mostly engineers, not "office users" that use Macs in my company, and that seems to be the case in a lot of tech-heavy industries. If Apple's not building machines that can handle the rigors of "devops" (whatever that really means, ask 20 people and you'll get 40 different answers) then clearly they're doing it wrong.
  8. Gorgonops

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    A Titanium is thin enough to stick under the lip of every monitor stand I have in sight, most of my monitors have multiple inputs so it's easy to just tether it when I want it, and the laptop *also* works by itself, which is not true of a PowerMac or Mini. (And I definitely do not have room to leave a big fat PowerMac set up in my house; one wouldn't fit under my desk and leave room for legs.) Nobody in their right mind needs an OS 9 machine around all the time today. As a sometimes food, er, toy, a Titanium is fine. Would I want one as my only machine today? Heck no... Although, frankly, considering how awful and easily broken the last couple gens of Apple machines have been (mostly because of the butterfly keyboard fiasco, but let's also not forget the bloating batteries which *I and every one of my coworkers* have dealt with, in some cases on successive machines that are swapped out under lease when they're just two years old) I would kind of throw out there that maybe times haven't changed as much as we'd like to pretend.
  9. Gorgonops

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    Here's the counter-argument: TiBooks are *considerably* more common than Pismos; they made the Pismo for 11 months and Apple was still climbing out of the big hole Steve Jobs was recruited to dig them out of when he got on board in 1997, so they also weren't selling anywhere near as fast. Perhaps Ti's did have a higher mortality rate, but in absolute terms there were more of them to start with, and Pismos weren't that sturdy in the beginning nor were they immune to age-related illnesses. (Their hinges also blow out, and their motherboards are very possibly less reliable than Ti's, although of course I have no numbers to demonstrate that suspicion.) So despite the advantages a Pismo may have had in physical robustness back in 2001 it's easier to lay hands on a working Titanium today. As for the iBook G3, those things had *terrible* reliability issues; all but the original 500/600mhz versions of the "Icebook" had the defective GPU bonding, and as a consequence it's actually easier to find a working "Toilet Seat" model than a fast IceBook, and you *will* notice the performance difference between any Titanium and a toilet seat. So on availability the TiBook wins, hands down. None of these machines make sense as a true portable anymore; batteries are scarce unless you're into rebuilding them, and honestly rebuilding a Ti's battery takes about as much effort as doing the same to a Pismo's. (IE, neither is fun.) So if we're going to assume that this retro machine of yours is going to spend a lot of time tethered to a desk then let's face facts: the Titanium is going to give you the best experience, although how much better is going to depend on the generation. The original 400/500mhz will be roughly a tie; they're both cursed with an 8MB Rage 128. But every subsequent model has a Radeon card and enough VRAM to run both the internal LCD and an external monitor at full resolution, and the last two gens have DVI ports. And they're standard DVI ports, not a mickey-mouse thing that needs an adapter. (And they're also not limited to running in mirror mode with limited resolution choices like an iBook.) Yes, it's not going to be as good of a setup as a maxxed out G4, but it's a heck of a lot smaller and quieter and you have the option of portability that's missing even from a Mac Mini. Even if your heart is with OS 9 for practicality's sake you might want at least the option of booting into OS X. (Like if you want to use wireless on an at-least-kind-of-vaguely-secure network, which is technically possible with TKIP, although it is true many routers have it disabled by default now.) A G4 runs it better than a G3. Full stop. And three out of four versions of the Ti also win big over a Pismo by at least supporting Quartz Extreme. Most stock hard disks for these machines, any of them, are pushing up daisies now anyway, so replace the Ti's with a faster one or an SSD. It's not fun to take apart a Ti enough to change the hard disk but it's way, way easier than it is to do the same in an iBook. Taking everything into account I'd say that a Titanium G4 seems like a perfectly reasonable option, if not the absolute best one. (Maybe it's the best of a bad lot, but it's still the best.) If you didn't get your hands on your TiBook until 2005 no wonder you thought it sucked. They did suck in 2005, muchly. But you're wrong that $2,800 would have gotten you a much better machine from Apple at the time it was made. I mean, sure, you could get a dual CPU G4 Tower and that'd be faster. But for a portable it was the only game in town, like it or hate it. And, really, I'm serious when I say laptops sucked in 2002, across the board. The Ti was competitive with "executive class" PC laptops of the era, and all of those laptops were seriously slow compared to a desktop PC you could buy for the same money. Also, people forget that many laptops of that era also had severe reliability problems. (Ever heard of the Thinkpad "Blink of Death"? That was a big thing with the T20 series, as were cold solder joints that took out a memory slot.)
  10. Gorgonops

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    And yeah, I'll totally agree that physically they sucked. The first gen ones in particular were comically fragile, but they were all pretty bad. Even a *minor* drop, like a few inches down on a desk, could crack the bonding in such a way that the laptop would henceforth feel "floppy" when held in one hand. Almost every Titanium that was turned back in after its tour of duty at my company had that condition. (I've noticed that condition seems slightly less common with privately owned machines; it's another data point that confirms my suspicion that paying money for used corporate-lease laptops is often a bad idea. People often don't treat things they didn't pay for with the same care they would if it was their own $2,500 on the line, oddly enough.) Honestly I wasn't that impressed with the few Pismo's I've handled, but I kind of have to take a pass on judging them simply because they're so much rarer than Ti's. They struck me as very similar to a similarly priced Dell Latitude or similar in terms of robustness, which is, well, fine.
  11. Gorgonops

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    Several notes: 1: CoreImage is relevant for running OS 9 software? 2: The G4 Mac Mini had a Radeon 9200 in it. That is *not* a CoreImage supported GPU. 3: In fact, the *only* G4 tower that came with a CoreImage compatible GPU was that non-9-bootable one, and then only as an option. 4: CoreImage GPUs are *useless* under OS 9, they act as dumb framebuffers. There's not even support for resolution changing. So going through the trouble of installing that hacked version of OS 9 that *sort* of runs on these machines is getting pretty seriously into diminishing returns territory. So, having established that a CoreImage GPU renders a machine useless for direct OS 9 booting, then I guess we're left comparing a TiBook to a hacked Mac Mini. And sure, assuming the hacked video drivers for its Radeon 9200 actually work then it probably is at least somewhat faster, although I doubt the difference between 1.0 and 1.25Ghz is that worth writing home about. As for OS X performance... color me skeptical the difference is much greater. The big advantage the Al books had over the Titanium was they could take 2GB of RAM instead of one. (At least until their extra slot blew out.) The Mini is limited to one gig, same as a TiBook. So where's this big jump in performance going to come from? Here's Geekbench2 results comparing a 1Ghz Ti to a 1.25Ghz Mac Mini. The scores are 621 and 767 respectively. So, let's do some math: 621/767=0.8096... so, okay, let's round this to 80% 1/1.25=.8 So... there you go. Unless I'm missing something the Titanium is 80% as fast as the Mini, which is exactly the relationship between their respective clock speeds. I don't have a PowerBook G3 kicking around to play with, but for laughs lets play with Geekbench scores again. Geekbench pegs a Pismo (400mhz) at a 225. Same benchmark ranks a 400mhz TiBook at 271, so it doesn't look like having a G4 really skews the numbers that much. If we multiply the 400mhz Pismo's score by 2.5, which is admittedly a *little* unrealistic, to get the theoretical score of a 1Ghz Pismo, we get 562. If we multiply that by 1.2, which is roughly the difference between the 400mhz G3 and G4, we come up with, (drum roll...) 676. This compares to the real score of 621 from the 1Ghz Titanium. Okay, so that's faster, but it's a fake number because it's highly unlikely that multiplying the number that way is valid; among other things it means this theoretical Pismo we're going against effectively has a 250mhz system bus. The actual Geekbench score of a 900mhz iBook is 419, which only bolsters my suspicions. So let's multiply the iBook's score by 1.11111 and apply the 1.2x fudge factor. That give us a score of 558, which is probably far more realistic. So, yeah, looks to me like a 1Ghz Titanium is easily twice as fast as a 500mhz Pismo even if we handicap the difference in G3 vs. G4 out of the equation. No problem. It probably won't be on real world benchmarks that rely on hard disk throughput, sure, but on video benchmarks it'll crush it, so we'll call that a wash. (And it's not like it's going to *lose* the hard disk benchmarks.) Not to say you don't have your reasons for thinking Titanium PowerBooks are POSes, it sounds like the one you had really earned that appellation and, frankly, I pretty much agree with most of your criticisms in an absolute sense. (And over the period they were relevant I actually used three of the bloody things, a 400mhz, a 667mhz, and an 867mhz, and I had plenty of other machines to compare them with, including contemporary PC laptops and their Aluminum G4 successors.) The supposed performance of these things was badly oversold, they were physically flimsy, and they were *terrible* at running OS X. But I frankly think by picking on them *in particular* you're kind of ignoring the fact that all Apple products from this era kind of suck. The only reason the G4 towers could even remotely pretend to compare with PCs is because Apple invested so heavily in dual processing (which wasn't quite a mainstream thing in the PC world yet), The G3 iBooks they were churning out were dropping like flies because of the issues Apple was having with keeping their GPUs soldered down, and OS X sucked on everything because of how bloated and inefficient it was; "Jaguar" got a lot of press for being the first "usable" version, but it was still bad, and it was only released a couple months before the last rev of the Titanium. Frankly by Apple's low standards I think the Titanium is... okay, at least from a performance standpoint. I don't see any evidence that it's unusually slow for its "rated speed" compared to any of its contemporary Apple machines, nor its immediate ancestors or descendants. It almost comes across as bad faith to keep dropping references to how much better *very late* PowerPC machines or Intel Machines running Rosetta run OS X software as support for the contention that a Pismo, a machine less than half as fast as the Titanium, is a better OS 9 machine. Frankly that whole argument can easily just be flipped on its head and the same data can be used to make the case that a fast Titanium is the best PowerPC laptop you can own because it is the fastest officially supported native OS 9 machine *and* it can at least run OS X software almost as well as a Mac Mini, which you certainly cannot say about a Pismo.
  12. Gorgonops

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    To be clear, I'm not saying the Pismo is a "bad" machine for running OS 9, it's probably more than adequate for almost anything you might possibly want to do under that OS. I'm just not quite able to grok how it's a "better" machine than one that's objectively (if only incrementally) higher spec in every regard. It's hard to argue that even the fastest Titanium (which realistically is only going to be about twice as fast as a Pismo for most things) has passed some sort of performance singularity where no further improvement in user experience is possible, might as well take whatever you can get.
  13. Gorgonops

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    I think you're thinking of the "Pentium 4-M" here. (I know it's incredibly confusing because both were regularly referred to as the "Mobile Intel Pentium 4", the -M would use confusing nomenclature like "Mobile Intel Pentium 4 Processor-M" in flyers, like in this dell ad..) Alas you're not going to convince me that they were good products. I had one of the aforementioned Latitude C640s in my hands briefly and while I can't say it was a "terrible" (and I can certainly believe that it would outrun a Titanium) the "class of 2003" with Pentium M's was just *so* much better. I don't know about Cinebench scores, but if you check the GeekBench 2 browser a typical score for a 2.4Ghz C640 is around 1000, which was easily bested by a 1.6Ghz D600 which weighed a pound less and could sustain that performance for longer without throttling/the fan sounding like a blow dryer. I can't find scores for a Thinkpad T30 vs. a T40 but I'm willing to bet the equation was much the same. This isn't to say that the T30 wouldn't have been a better buy than a 2002 Powerbook if max performance was what you were after, but there was a definite physical trade-off involved. If you're comparing to x86 laptops It's probably more fair to put the PowerBook up against "executive" Pentium III-m laptops like the C610 or Thinkpad T23, and for those Geekbench scores are very much in the same ballpark for a 1 Ghz PowerBook vs. a 1.2Ghz PIII. Anyway, that whole tradeoff went away when the Pentium M came out, which was my point. A fully fitted out D600 is actually *slightly* lighter than a 15" AL and runs positively roughshod over the Aluminum G4 in benchmarks. (Outside of those Photoshop monkeyshines.) There were much fewer compromises forced on you if you could have skipped the 2002 generation of laptops. It is still *faster*, G4 support or no, and it is lighter as well, so I'm still not quite sure how it's objectively "better". Is it a G4 a *lot* better, or even "meaningfully better" than the G3? I would agree probably not, but there are a few very isolated edge cases where the Titanium would be able to seriously show up a Pismo. (Laughable example: 3D gaming. Mobile Radeon > Mobile Rage Pro. I'm sure you can find, uhm, one thing where that would matter.) I would also say that if we're comparing the third gen or later Titanium to the Pismo the Titanium's support for DVI monitors is a *significant* win. At this point the remaining Pismos are worn out enough I'm not even sure the originally better physical robustness of the Pismo is going to matter that much. They're old, their hinges are failing, and they also have that goofy CPU-on-a-daughtercard thing that technically makes their motherboards slightly more likely to fail.
  14. Gorgonops

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    The big, big weakness to Tibooks other than their general fragility is their screen hinges; given enough time they *will* fail, and when they do there's a good chance it'll be catastrophic. (IE, literally snapping the screen off the machine.) Problems with hinges are not unique with the Ti, they go *way* back in the PowerBook lineage, but the Ti was the first machine with a glued-together tinfoil-covered screen that made it that much more terrible to try to repair it without swapping the entire lid and its contents. The Ti was a pretty impressive machine when it came out (although still laughably fragile; I remember with the 400/500mhz models you could make the CD-ROM drive make bad noises simply by resting your hands under the keyboard) but it aged remarkably badly even over its relatively short market life. Apple really oversold the supposed speed advantage of the G4 over the Pentium III (the ugly truth is that outside of that little suite of photoshop benchmarks that Apple loved so much their per-clock performance was very much in the same ballpark), and the Titanium was further hurt by the fact that early versions of OS X were so sluggish on *any* machine. To be honest, most laptops from 2002 kind of suck; this is when Intel was split between pushing arguably overclocked revs of the Mobile Pentium III on the mainstream and the terrible, power-guzzling-and-contantly-throttling Mobile Pentium 4 on the high end. Where the late Titaniums really suffer is when you compare them with the Pentium M machines that came out very shortly later; they're *laughably* slow by comparison. They also look bad compared to the Aluminum machines, although I personally don't count the original 1.0/1.25 Ghz 15" models as overall superior because they had a lot of bugs. (Most notoriously the "white spot" problem with the screens.) A 1.33Ghz Al feels like it's in a completely different category than any Titanium. Technically they are still the "best" laptop that boots directly to OS 9, I can't actually think of anything a Pismo would actually be better at. The original TiBook is electrically identical to the Pismo other than the G4 CPU, and later ones only got better CPUs and video cards. Offhand I will note that I did successfully install an MSATA->PATA adapter in my 867mhz Titanium with cheapo 128GB MSATA stick, and it certainly boots OS 9 pretty darn fast.
  15. Yuck. Something I didn't mention about that cheap-o LCD/Scaler board combo I bought on eBay: the eBay listing I ordered *that* from proclaimed it was "NEW", all-caps. Actually, no, the LCD panel I received with it has the worst burn-in I've ever seen. It looks like it might have been harvested from some sort of in-flight entertainment system or something, no idea because reading Chinese isn't a skill I possess, but if I *could* read Chinese then I'd have no problem whatsoever telling you what was statically displayed on it for probably *years* straight. The seller pretended to be very apologetic and there is a replacement in the mail, but I have this feeling that when it arrives and I discover it's just as ruined as the last one I'll be filing an "Item not as described". Watch yourselves out there, kids.